Priority to the right is a right-of-way system, in which the driver of a vehicle is required to give way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections.

However, can I ask in below case who has the priority?

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Suppose I am the red one who wants to drive to the left. Normally I have to give way to the green one who wants to go straight or turn left in this case. But I am confused if there is another brown car who now wants to go straight. He normally needs to give way to the red. And the green normally give way to the brown when he wants to turn left.

  • 2
    In UK, when everyone is supposed to give way, they all pause and look at each other, and eventually someone invites another to proceed, and if that doesn't happen someone take the initiative and moves. The general safety rule is: if in doubt do not proceed. May 31, 2022 at 21:56
  • Whoever drives the fastest. Jun 1, 2022 at 3:07
  • Is anything about this question specific to the Netherlands or isn't this a common problem in most, if not all countries? If the basic rule is priority from right (or left), there will at any intersection be a possible circular priority dependency when three cars approach at the same time. I know for sure that this was a subject in driving school when I got my license. I was expecting, or at least hoping, that it everywhere would be a part of basic driving education how to cope with such situations. Jun 1, 2022 at 11:06
  • The 'driving' tag says: if you have a question about traffic laws, please consider posting it on Law Stack Exchange. Jun 1, 2022 at 17:33
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    @WeatherVane I prefer to like your comment/answer, perhaps not only in UK but in other countries with priority junction, “when everyone is supposed to give way, they all pause and look at each other, and eventually someone invites another to proceed, and if that doesn't happen someone take the initiative and moves. The general safety rule is: if in doubt do not proceed.”
    – Alex
    Jun 1, 2022 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


There are indeed a few scenarios which are not resolved by priority rules on unmarked intersections. Assuming brown wants to go straight on this is one of them, because there is an additional rule which says that you need to give way to traffic on the same road continuing in a straight line. This means green needs to give way to brown (and brown to red, red to green).

There is also the general concept that priority is something you receive, not something you take. Dutch law defines 'giving way' ('voorrang verlenen') as 'Allowing the other driver to proceed unhampered.' This assigns a duty to to the vehicle that must give way, but does not grant any rights to the other vehicle. They are still bound by the catch all rule to (Art. 5) requiring them to not create danger and not impede traffic.

So, everybody needs to stop (or at least almost stop) to allow someone else to proceed, if you don't you broke the law. However, once you've done that you've complied, even if the other car does not proceed. The law does not not require to wait until the other driver finally decides to proceed, quite the opposite, you should proceed when it's safe to do so to not impede traffic. (If all drivers would just sit there and wait they are technically all breaking the law because they are impeding traffic.)

In practice, situations like this resolve themselves either when someone is polite and waves others through, or when someone is bold and starts going. In low traffic and/or low speed intersections this works fine in practice. And generally intersections where this might cause issues will have specific priority rules.

In this specific case I'd expect brown to go first, as there seems to be some common understanding that it's sensible to clear the cars that go in a straight line first. But there is no rule in the law which dictates that.

  • Your last paragraph made me question if this was common knowledge or law, but it seems like it is law. wetten.overheid.nl/… Both red and green are required to give way to brown. After brown left the intersection, red needs to give way to green, red is the last to be allowed to cross in this example.
    – milo526
    Jun 3, 2022 at 14:20
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    The law you reference only specifies green needs to give way to brown, those two are on the same road. Red isn't on the same road so the rule doesn't them. Which means this situation is actually 'locked', brown needs to wait for red, red needs to wait for green and green needs to wait on brown. It's is an undefined situation, so it falls back to the catch-all rule which basically says you cannot create danger or hamper other traffic. If you don't do any of that it's fine. I'll edit to expand on that a bit...
    – AVee
    Jun 7, 2022 at 11:12
  • brown doesn't need to give way to anyone if there are no signs. Brown is going straight. Those who are crossing or entering traffic need to wait until it's safe to do that. Jun 7, 2022 at 12:16
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    Not in the Netherlands, traffic rules are pretty clear: "On intersections drivers give way to other drivers coming from their right side." The only two exceptions involve unpaved roads and trams. See: wetten.overheid.nl/…
    – AVee
    Jun 7, 2022 at 12:25
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    I remember my German theoretical driving test where similar priority questions often included the answer 'I will give up my priority so the intersection won't get blocked'.
    – Jan
    Jun 7, 2022 at 15:59

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